2001-Tue Dec 06 11:23:18 EST 2016
Vetstreet. All rights reserved.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
Many years ago, a young woman brought me an uncomfortable Boston Terrier I quickly diagnosed with a bladder full of bladder stones — a clear-cut case on X-ray if ever there was one. My client’s boyfriend (and the dog's true owner), however, disagreed with my diagnosis via telephone. As a human radiologist, he claimed he didn’t have to see the picture I’d taken. He knew for a fact that bladder stones were indifferent to X-rays, thereby laying the groundwork for a dispute over the bill.
As this example illustrates, dissent is a discomfiting fact of life. Whatever your profession, persuasion or path in life, you will encounter opposition in the form of the second guess.
Clearly, veterinarians have it no better. Contrary clients, staff members and even other colleagues are there at every turn to remind us that: a) we do not act in a social vacuum, and b) we are not perfect.
Not that it’s always fun to field a dissenting opinion. Not that it’s always welcome, well-received or even useful if it were. Nevertheless, being second-guessed can be a very valuable tool… if only it’s accepted with an open mind and given a positive spin, to boot.
Unfortunately, my less-than-charitable reaction to the client in the above example will not serve as poster child for how second guesses are best handled. Not only did I threaten to sue him for theft of services if he revoked the charges on his credit card, I also referred him to a stash of research confirming his ignorance, and asked (none too politely) that he take his business elsewhere in the future.
In case it’s not already obvious, let me explain: This is NOT the way veterinarians should handle second guesses. Here are a few reasons why:
1. One bad turn never deserves another. This reason applies to all people and all reactions, really. After all, reacting adversely to another’s negativity has never done much to improve a situation.
2. It could be a teaching opportunity. Arguably, veterinarians are as much in the business of education as they are in the business of fixing animals. The way I see it, the two are inextricably entwined. That’s why veterinarians should seize upon any opportunity to teach, regardless of its uncomfortable origins.
In this case, I should have remarked geekily on the impressive differences between humans and dogs: “Isn’t the mineralization of canine uroliths just amazing?”
3. It's bad for business. It goes without saying that to fire a client, as I did in the above example, is not generally considered a sound business decision. That is, not if it can be avoided. Sure, the client was a) wrong and b) acting like an idiot. But let’s be honest: If I fired every client who met those two criteria on occasion, I’d have no clients. Indeed, I’d have fired myself long ago.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Get all the best pet news and information sent right to your inbox!
Thank you for subscribing!
We combed through 505,270 kitten
names to determine the hottest male
and female monikers of the year.
We scoured our database of 1.1 million
dogs to find out which male and female
monikers reigned supreme this past…
Christmas trees, fatty foods and other
seasonal items may bring cheer to your
home, but they'll cause harm to your…
Dr. Sarah Wooten takes a closer look at
this curious sleeping habit and what it has
to do with canines’ ancestry.
The Kromfohrlander is said to be
descended from a mixed-breed dog
who was a mascot for American troops.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.